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Useful news items from around the world of particular interest to international Geneva

Curated by Peter Hulm

Courses and opportunities for young people


‘If we do it right, we'll only have to do it once' – Bill Gates calls for a nationwide US shutdown

How the US should react to the pandemic, according to Bill Gates

weforum (LINK)

How long does coronavirus live on different surfaces? Latest

The New England Journal of Medicine just published a study that tested how long the virus can remain stable on different kinds of surfaces within a controlled laboratory setting. They found that it was still detectable on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours. But it's important to note that the amount of virus decreased rapidly over time on each of those surfaces. And so the risk of infection from touching them would probably decrease over time as well.

theguardian (LINK)

Coronavirus: once you have antibodies, are you safe? Latest

It is not strictly true that nobody who hasn't already had COVID-19 can have immunity to the disease. We do have some capacity in our bodies to protect ourselves. Also, our immune systems can learn during the infection and clear the virus from our body.

theconversation (LINK)


Elephants in Thailand face starvation as coronavirus knocks out tourism

Also BBC

nypost (LINK)

'The animals aren't pleased': UK zoos under coronavirus lockdown

hough zoos across the country are unusually quiet, zookeepers are faced with the challenge of ensuring life goes on as normal for the animals they care for amid a pandemic that has profoundly altered British society.

theguardian (LINK)


Japanese carmakers brace for US sales shock as coronavirus hits consumers

As the U.S. auto industry braces for the biggest downturn since the 2008 financial crisis, analysts are counting the cost for Japan's automakers — whose fortunes depend heavily on the world's second largest car market.

Nissan is projected to fare the worst under Goldman's earnings forecast, with fiscal year 2021 operating profit projected to plummet 92%.

cnbc (LINK)


Quarantine streaming is changing the definition of 'primetime' TV

A new study by streaming analytics company Conviva found that streaming TV viewing between the hours of 10am and 5pm is growing as people stay home to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The biggest increase in streaming TV consumption is during the 11am to noon block where viewing time has risen by 43 percent.

mashable (LINK)

"Coronavirus has no nationality" — By visuals on Unsplash


Pension Fund Investment Supremo Resigns after protests

"Note to Correspondents on the Resignation of Sudhir Rajkumar"

"Mr. Sudhir Rajkumar has resigned from his role as the Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, effective at the close of business on Tuesday, 31 March 2020. The Secretary-General has accepted the resignation and thanks Mr. Rajkumar for his service in managing the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. The Secretary-General wishes Mr. Rajkumar the very best in his future endeavours." (Really?)

The Director of the Finance Division in the Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget of the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, Mr. Pedro Guazo, will be appointed as the Acting Representative of the Secretary-General while the Secretary-General launches a recruitment process to find a successor to Mr. Rajkumar.

— Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, New York, 29 March 2020

See also UN Pension Blog 29 March 2020:

UN Pension Fund: in the COVID-19 crisis, the Secretary-General must step in now to resolve internal issues on investments

"It's been nearly six months since the swirling allegations were first brought to the Secretary-General's attention by the UN Participant Representatives to the Pension Board.

"For the past year, internal turmoil has roiled the UN Pension Fund's Office of Investment Management (OIM) led by Sudhir Rajkumar, the Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments (RSG).

"This article presents available facts, in the hope that bringing them into the open will spur necessary attention and steps to restore internal calm to OIM to enable both staff and management to better weather the current external storm caused by the COVID-19 crisis."

unpension (LINK)

Why Taiwan has become a problem for WHO

Taiwan is seen as one of the few places in the world which has successfully stemmed the spread of the coronavirus without resorting to draconian measures. But despite its efforts, it is still effectively locked out of membership in the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its complex relationship with China. This all exploded over the weekend when a top WHO official appeared to avoid questions about Taiwan in a TV interview that has gone viral, attracting criticism and even accusations of bias.

bbc (LINK)


Should you wear a face mask? WHO officials weigh in at COVID-19 briefing

WHO officials were careful to say that the agency does not criticise countries who advise wearing masks. But at the same time, the agency was quick to stress that masks are commonly misused, and as a result, won't offer the intended protections. For instance, wearing a mask can provide a false sense of security, say experts, leading some to become less vigilant in more important hygiene measures, such as hand washing. Additionally, removing a mask so it no longer covers your nose, or touching the outside of the mask can make it less effective.

Key to remember, say WHO officials, is that coronavirus is spread by droplets and not airborne transmission. The most likely person to become a case is someone who has been in significant contact with another case.

weforum (LINK)

Researcher challenges WHO's "test, test, test" advice for African countries

"The factors [to consider] include the dangers posed by false test results, the fact that testing data is being badly communicated leading to a rise in panic levels and the fact that testing capacity is limited in many countries."

"Panic is being driven by the way in which the outcome of testing is being communicated. For example, most countries are releasing data about how many more cases there are. But they are not telling their citizens how many of these people have no symptoms at all, or have mild ones.

"Knowing how many of those who tested positive were not considered to be in a critical state would be helpful.

The other area in which data is being badly handled, and adding to panic levels, is that countries are reporting new cases on a daily basis. These aren't necessarily new infections but, rather, new detections. Most are people who already had it and (for whatever reason were able to get tested) were found to be positive. They are people who, just the day before, did not know they had the virus and therefore weren't provoking fear in others. Also, the number of new confirmed cases alone may not be the best indicator for the challenge the disease poses in a country or community."

theconversation (LINK)

How a Large Global Humanitarian Organization is Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Care: a podcast

globaldispatchespodcast (LINK)

International tourism to plunge up to 30% due to virus: World Tourism Organization

International travel will likely fall by 20-30 percent in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, putting millions of jobs in the global tourism sector at risk said the World Tourism Organization. This revises sharply lower a forecast made on March 6 of a decline of just 1.0-3.0 percent due to the travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the disease and economic fallout of the outbreak.

gulftoday (LINK)

UN says 86 staffers around world reported cases

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said most of the infected staff members are in Europe, but there are also staffers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States that have the coronavirus.

ap/sentinelandenterprise (LINK)

A new FDA-authorized COVID-19 test doesn't need a lab and can produce results in just 5 minutes

There's a new COVID-19 test from healthcare technology maker Abbott that looks to be the fastest yet in terms of producing results, and that can do so on the spot right at point-of-care, without requiring a round trip to a lab. This test for the novel coronavirus causing the current global pandemic has received emergency clearance for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and will begin production next week, with output of 50,000 per day possible starting next week.


15 minutes for a negative result. Say 1,000 people on a cruise ship. One of these could test 1,000 people in 15,000 minutes or 10 days, 10 hours.

Time to develop an in home test to identify COVID-19 antibodies thus showing that a person is now cured and immune and can resume normal life. After all, a large percentage of those infected are asymmetric...

Sorry, not for consumers. The machine is about $5,000 plus the tests.

techcrunch (LINK)

Fox News Goes After WHO boss

As coronavirus started seeping from its origins in a Wuhan wet market in China late last year, the information coming from the World Health Organization (WHO) was one of dismissal, in line with the Chinese Communist Party's muzzling of the disease's potency.

"For an international body that people (and) governments and the business community looks to for advice, they are simply too slow, burdened by bureaucracy and political correctness."

The role of its leader, Ethiopian national Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – who was tapped for the top job in 2017 by member states and appointed to a five-year term – is now also coming into focus. Some are questioning whether he buttered up to governments like China in return for massive donations to the organization. Ghebreyesus routinely lauds Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the pathogen, while not acknowledging early cover-ups and the fact that several doctors were muzzled for daring to speak out about a strange new virus percolating in Wuhan.

foxnews (LINK)

Science pros and cons of face masks

The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both said that only people with COVID-19 symptoms and those caring for them should wear masks. But some health experts, including the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, think that's a mistake. Health authorities in parts of Asia have encouraged all citizens to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus, regardless of whether they have symptoms. And the Czech Republic took the uncommon step last week of making nose and mouth coverings mandatory in public spaces, prompting a grassroots drive to hand make masks.

Even experts who favor masking the masses say their impact on the spread of disease is likely to be modest. Many are also afraid to promote mask buying amid dire shortages at hospitals. But as the pandemic wears on, some public health experts think government messages discouraging mask wearing should shift. However masks are used, people must practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. When people do venture out and interact, they're likely to spew some saliva. "I don't want to frighten you, but when people speak and breathe and sing — you don't have to sneeze or cough — these droplets are coming out," said a researcher.

Although there is some evidence that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can persist in aerosols—fine particles that remain suspended in air—aerosol transmission is likely rare, says Arnold Monto, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It's mostly spread by larger droplets, "and we know that standard surgical face masks will have a modest effect on that kind of transmission," he says. "When you combine [masks] with other approaches, then they may make a difference." Randomized controlled trials focused on other viruses haven't proved that masking the public decreases infections, though these studies have tended to have small sample sizes, and in many, participants didn't wear the masks as much as they were instructed to.

sciencemag (LINK)

Not wearing masks to protect against coronavirus is a 'big mistake', top Chinese scientist says

"The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren't wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you've got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others."

sciencemag (LINK)

World Health Organization Teams With IBM, Oracle on Blockchain-Based Coronavirus Data Hub

Big names including IBM, Oracle and the World Health Organization (WHO) are among the collaborators on an open-data hub that will use blockchain technology to check the veracity of data relating to the coronavirus pandemic. The solution, dubbed MiPasa, is launching as a "COVID-19 information highway", said Jonathan Levi, CEO of Hacera, the company that built the platform.

Includes links to key papers, including WHO China Joint Mission Report (16-24 February 2020) in PDF.

coindesk (LINK)

Coronavirus: Why are the death rates different?

dw (LINK)

Economic Policy Responses needed to the Corona Crisis in Switzerland

avenir-suisse (LINK)


Zoom Removes Code That Sends Data to Facebook

vice (LINK)


The New Humanitarian Weekly Roundup

COVID 19 and beyond (LINK)

COVID-19 coronavirus: 'Patient zero' at Wuhan seafood market identified

The first person from the Wuhan market – where the coronavirus pandemic is believed to have started – to test positive for the virus was a woman selling live shrimps, according to a document leaked to media. The 57-year-old seafood merchant at Wuhan's Huanan market, who The Wall Street Journal has identified, first started to feel sick on December 10.

nzherald (LINK)

Cruise lines, early source of coronavirus infections, out of U.S. bailout package because located outside U.S.

Language in the 883-page bill passed by the Senate says that to be eligible for aid from the $500 billion fund, companies must be certified as "created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States" as well as having "significant operations in" and a majority of employees based in the United States.

Major cruise companies have located their primary headquarters overseas, which for years has allowed them to pay almost no federal taxes and avoid some U.S. regulations. To staff their ships, the companies rely heavily on foreign workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and India.

washingtonpost (LINK)


Zoom for iOS Shares Data With Facebook Even if a User Doesn't Have a Facebook Account: Report

Zoom app's privacy policy does not mention the usage of Facebook SDKs that requires sending data to Facebook by default. (LINK)


Center for Inquiry Misinformation Site: Coronavirus Misinformation Site

"This is our effort to collect, curate, and communicate the most relevant and useful science and reality-based resources for information regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, from CFI's own platforms and all around the web, focusing on material that separates fact from fiction and scientific theory from conspiracy theory.""

centerforinquiry (LINK)

US push to include 'Wuhan virus' language in G7 joint statement fractures alliance

cnn (LINK)

COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (April – December 2020): $2.012bn

"The world faces a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is spreading human suffering, crippling the global economy and upending people's lives." — António Guterres.

It aggregates relevant COVID-19 appeals and inputs from WFP, WHO, IOM, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF and NGOs, and it complements other plans developed by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The response plan will be implemented by UN agencies, with international NGOs and NGO consortia playing a direct role in the response. It will:

The Plan in PDF

reliefweb (LINK)

Why Economists Didn't See a Coronavirus Collapse Coming

Taking the IMF, 63% of its reports written after outbreaks in 15 countries considered the impact on the economy worth mentioning. But not one IMF report for any of the 15 countries written in the two years before mentioned the potential risk to the economy of an infectious disease outbreak.

"More than a month ago, I wrote to a few of the world's leading institutional investors and central bankers, individuals I know personally, saying we really needed to talk about COVID-19. Most didn't reply." — Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund.

theglobalfund (LINK)

Internet Archive announces National Emergency Library

the Internet Archive has temporarily suspended all waitlists, allowing you to immediately check out any of the 1.4 million books currently in our lending library. Until June 30th or the end of the US national emergency (whichever comes later), every borrowable book will be immediately accessible by anyone—creating, in effect, a National Emergency Library.

archive (LINK)

WHO: The world has a 'second window of opportunity' to stop the coronavirus, but 6 key actions are needed

2. 'Implement a system to find every suspected case at community level'

businessinsider (LINK)

Congress to bail out firms that avoided taxes, safety regulations and spent billions boosting their stock

washingtonpost (LINK)

UN urges easing of sanctions on Iran, others facing virus

Rights chief insists exemptions to embargoes should be given to allow for essential medical equipment to reach struggling countries.

afp/timesofisrael (LINK)

'Everyone will be contaminated': prisons face strict coronavirus controls

New WHO guidelines are aimed at protecting one of the most vulnerable sectors of society from the spread of COVID-19

theguardian (LINK)

Investigative Journalism on the COVID-19 Crisis

Some of the best reporting to date: 50 examples from 17 countries.

gijn (LINK)

Internet shutdowns 'not justified' in coronavirus outbreak

Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir this week extended internet restrictions first imposed after sweeping constitutional changes last year until March 26, saying these were "absolutely necessary" because of recent terror activities. (LINK)

1.3 billion students now home

modernghana (LINK)

Thank your lucky stars you have an address

UPU: With addresses in a database, authorities and health experts can locate people, determine how many people are ill, and where the vulnerable old people are, UPU points out. Emergency action is also time-sensitive: “Identification of a location and the best route to access it are crucial for rapid responses.”

medium (LINK)


Human Rights

Colorado abolishes the death penalty

Colorado abolished the death penalty, making it the 22nd state to do away with capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1976.

nbcnews (LINK)

A day after Nirbhaya convicts' execution, UN asks states to 'halt use of capital punishment'

Responding to the hanging, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the world organization calls on all nations to stop the use of capital punishment or put a moratorium on it.

newindianexpress (LINK)

UK has multiple social rights failings, finds Council of Europe

Breaches over age of criminal responsibility, migrants' rights and low pay

theguardian (LINK)


Locust Swarms, Some 3 Times the Size of New York City, Are Eating Their Way Across Two Continents

"Climate change is worsening the largest plague of the crop-killing insects in 50 years, threatening famine in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent."

insideclimatenews (LINK)


In a Crisis, the UN's Leadership Succession Plan

The headline is : "In a Crisis, Does the UN Have a Leadership Succession Plan?" then the article answers yes.

So far, 51 UN personnel worldwide are confirmed to have the virus. Sec-Gen. Guterres, 70, has not been tested.

Article 97 of the UN Charter spells out the process for appointing a secretary-general: The Security Council recommends a candidate to the General Assembly, which votes to confirm or not. At the time of Hammarskjold's death, the Charter did not delineate a line of succession, leaving a void in the UN's top leadership for a few months.

It wasn't until late 1997 that a formal line of succession was established. Then, Secretary-General Kofi Annan sought to make a series of reforms that included the position of deputy secretary-general. This position was intended to alleviate some of the increasing demands on a secretary-general and allow the UN leader to delegate crucial tasks to a personally appointed deputy. Traditionally, the administrative procedure should the secretary-general become unavailable, is the deputy secretary-general, then the chef de cabinet and, "in the very rare situation if they are all away", an under secretary-general from the Executive Committee is designated as officer in charge, Dujarric said.

Amina Mohammed, 58, and a Nigerian, is the current deputy secretary-general. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, 65, of Brazil, is the chef de cabinet.

passblue (LINK)

WHO launches global megatrial of the four most promising coronavirus treatments

Same list as MIT report

sciencemag (LINK)

MIT Report on COVID-19 drugs

Reports on Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, Favipiravir and Lopinavir and ritonavir: "Results are in from the first organized trials of drugs to treat COVID-19, but so far, there's no cure."

technologyreview (LINK)

Where did coronavirus come from? How long does it last on surfaces? Your questions answered

dw (LINK)

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) launches global initiative for COVID-19 action in conflict areas

"We have a great health access network in the world's conflict-affected countries that we can draw on and we have great operational partners," said Tom Gregg, who leads HD's global humanitarian programmes.

The initiative outlines four main HD goals, to be pursued in collaboration with global health experts:


Around the world, rulers are using the pandemic as an excuse to grab more power. And the public is going along with it

theatlantic (LINK)

The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho (BS '74) Speaks About COVID-19

"We need point-of-care tests. Those kinds of tests are available for HIV and for many other diseases; you use a finger stick, drop the blood on a small device, and have a readout in 15 minutes. These tests measure antibody response to the virus and are extremely useful. Yet we don't have a single test licensed in the U.S. In China, in South Korea, and in Europe, those tests are used. The manufacturer for this rapid test is producing a million a day. It's there. But in the name of protecting the public, the FDA has moved very, very slowly. That delay, in my view, has caused more harm than good."

caltech (LINK)

More COVID-19 reports


First UNECE regional report on SDGs shows some good progress but many gaps

UNECE has published its first Regional Report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

"UNECE countries are fulfilling targets or making good progress in many of the topics covered in this report. These include targets directly aimed at people, such as eradicating extreme poverty, covering the population with social protection, providing modern means for family planning, and having low levels of maternal, infant and child mortality; as well as actions geared towards preserving the planet – such as expanding forest cover, providing safely managed sanitation, lowering the energy intensity of the economy and complying with environmental agreements.

"On the other hand, in areas such as air pollution, protection of marine areas, development assistance, and disaster-risk reduction strategies, more needs to be done to meet the targets."

unece (LINK)


Can you catch coronavirus twice? Microbiologist sheds light on immunity question

Successfully fighting COVID-19 creates immunity, at least for a while. But how long that immunity lingers remains a mystery.

inverse (LINK)

Here's What to Do If Your Partner Gets Coronavirus

These tips come from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and someone who knows firsthand: Dr. Thomas Kirsch, MD, a physician and public health expert who had to self-quarantine after a possible exposure to COVID-19. Don't expect surprises: "If someone is having trouble breathing, seek medical care immediately."

oprahmag (LINK)


How to use Zoom on iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac

tomsguide (LINK)

How to fix the most common Zoom videoconferencing problems

digitaltrends (LINK)


CDC's COVID-19 Bot Helps You Decide in the U.S. Whether to Go to the Hospital

The CDC's bot is more of a self-triage tool than a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, and for that reason, it's specific to the United States. It first asks about age and preexisting health conditions before proceeding from life-threatening symptoms such as gasping for air or experiencing seizures that won't stop, to lesser symptoms like a fever and cough. It also asks for your location and whether you've been exposed to people who've tested positive for the virus. Depending on the severity of symptoms, you may be directed to call 911, go to the ER, call a healthcare provider, or stay home and self-isolate.

gizmodo (LINK)

Medium is offering access to its coronavirus stories for free

Mainly U.S.-oriented, e.g.

You can sign up for email delivery. (LINK)


Poor water infrastructure is greater risk than coronavirus, says UN

"Wastewater gives rise to between 3% and 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally, more than flying. Processing sewage can turn wastewater from a source of carbon to a source of clean energy, if the methane is captured and used in place of natural gas. Currently, between 80% and 90% of wastewater around the world is discharged to the environment with no treatment.

"Farming methods can also be adapted to use water more efficiently and cut carbon at the same time, because when soils are better managed they hold more organic matter, more carbon and more water – rendering them more fertile as well as sequestering greenhouse gases."

theguardian (LINK)


Coronavirus: anxiety over spread of disease ignites a rush of US virus-related scams

scmp (LINK)


FDA approves first rapid (45-minute) COVID-19 test

The newly approved test kit still involves taking a nasal swab, but the test can be done in a doctor's office or clinic with a detection time of approximately 45 minutes.

whyy (LINK)

COVID-19: Four ways to keep your smartphone squeaky clean and germ-free

thehindubusinessline (LINK)

Human Rights

UN chief congratulates Uzbekistan on decision to end statelessness for 50,000 people (LINK)


Revealed Why Some Prostate Cancers Are More Aggressive

eurasiareview (LINK)


Google launches educational coronavirus website

It's here

cnn (LINK)

Media / Software

P2P VPN Provider Offers Service to Journalists for Free

According to U.S. vpn provider Orchid, journalists who have press credentials and proof of status, regardless of their geographical location, can send an email to the company so they can access the network.

Dr. Steven Waterhouse, CEO and co-founder of Orchid Labs, said: "In the wake of crises, freedom of the press often gets restricted. This was demonstrated this week when the Chinese government announced that they would require journalists with expiring press credentials to return them and leave the country. Due to these latest circumstances, Orchid wants to ensure journalists have the ability to access and transmit accurate information, no matter their geographic location."

Due to traffic directed through multiple servers, no single party can see the full picture, crucial for journalists who can take advantage of the free service.

But: according to the website, Orchid "is accessible via iOS (beta testing only), Android, macOS, Linux, and (soon) Windows".

cointelegraph (LINK)


Russia and China push ‘fake news' aimed at weakening Europe: report

East Stratcom, whose mandate includes debunking fake news originating from Russia, said there had been more than 150 cases of pro-Kremlin disinformation linked to the global health crisis since late January. That includes claims that the European Union was on the verge of collapse because of national governments' fumbled responses to COVID-19.

politico (LINK)


WHO officials say at least 20 coronavirus vaccines are in development in global race for cure

"The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we're able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19,"" Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO's emergencies program, said at a press conference at the organization's headquarters in Geneva on Friday.

cnbc (LINK)


U.S. Senators Defend Their Suspect Stock Sales Post-Coronavirus Briefing

Sen. Kelly Loeffler said she had no knowledge of the sales, and Sen. Richard Burr said his decision was based on reports out of Asia amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

It's against the law for lawmakers to use non-public information to influence their financial decisions, such as a move to sell stock before a market crash to limit potential losses.

huffpost (LINK)

55% of Americans Are Okay With How Trump Is Handling Coronavirus

Newsweek: If 55% of Americans Are Okay With How Trump Is Handling Coronavirus Why Are So Many People Online In a Rage?

Western Journal: Approval of Trump's Coronavirus Response Shoots Up by 12 Points in a Single Week

newsvoice (LINK)

Coronavirus: Carnival Cruises pitches to Trump to turn its ships into floating hospitals as it posts $781m loss

Comment on website: Technically, they have an HVAC issue of sharing airflow — that's why people got cross-infected on those ships so much. (LINK)


The Best Alternatives to Zoom for Remote Meetings

Skype does meetings with 50 people.

lifehacker (LINK)

How New York is serving its middle schools

nypl (LINK)

List of symptoms and how to prevent the new coronavirus contains inaccuracies

12 claims examined. Four are "roughly accurate". (LINK)

No concrete evidence ibuprofen makes COVID-19 worse: Canadian health experts and FDA

Debate over whether ibuprofen products such as Advil should be bypassed for acetaminophen medications including Tylenol continues to rage among many people confused by conflicting reports spreading online. Alberta's medical health office offered assurances Thursday on Twitter, stating "there is no strong evidence to indicate that ibuprofen could worsen COVID-19 symptoms beyond the usual known side effects."

theglobeandmail (LINK)

reuters (LINK)


World Health Organization's WhatsApp bot texts you coronavirus facts

thenextweb (LINK)

UK Scientists develop coronavirus test that gives results in 30 minutes

The super-sensitive test, which picks up the virus in its very early stages when it might otherwise have been missed, could be rolled out to testing centres within a fortnight and could soon be available for home use. Previous viral RNA tests took up to two hours to give a result, slowing down the ability to respond quickly to the crisis, Britain's Daily Telegraph reports.

nzherald (LINK)


Geneva Press Club offers video and/or press release service

Because of the health crisis, all events at the Geneva Press Club have been postponed or canceled until new notice.

pressclub (LINK: email)


ILO: 24 million jobs could be lost because of coronavirus

Global unemployment could increase by 5.3 million in a "low" scenario and 24.3 million in a "high" scenario, UN agency the International Labor Organization (ILO) said in a new report. By comparison, 22 million people lost their jobs in the 2008-2009 crisis.

dw (LINK)

This blood test can tell us how widespread coronavirus really is

Their test, described in a preprint paper released today, looks for tell-tale antibodies to the coronavirus in people's blood, and is similar to the most widely used type of test for HIV.

technologyreview (LINK)

Most coronavirus cases in kids are mild, but some are at risk for worse, study confirms

Of the few children who do develop serious cases, those under 5 are the most at-risk, with infants under 1 year of age at the greatest danger, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

nbcnews (LINK)

Geneva Airport drastically restricts entry

Only passengers holding a valid ticket on a confirmed flight will be allowed to enter the airport. No other accompanying person or passenger whose flight has been cancelled will be allowed to enter the terminal. Thus, any person who decides to come to Geneva Airport to manage his or her cancellation or change of reservation will be refused entry. Passengers must carry out all these procedures by internet, e-mail or telephone. (LINK)

Avoid self-medication with ibuprofen against COVID-19 symptoms, use paracetamol: WHO

Warnings over the weekend by French Health Minister Olivier Veran followed a recent study in The Lancet weekly medical journal which hypothesised that an enzyme that is boosted when taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen COVID-19 infections.

straitstimes/afp (LINK)

SWISS reorganizes its Management Board in wake of coronovirus

swiss.newsmarket (LINK)

US did NOT ‘Refuse' COVID-19 Testing Kits from the World Health Organization

The U.S. did not turn down an offer to use those tests (as no such offer was extended), nor was it unusual for the United States to design and produce its own diagnostic tests in lieu of those made elsewhere.

snopes (LINK)

Why COVID-19 is so dangerous for older adults


Immune function declines with age. That makes us more susceptible to more severe illness.


No, Trump has not announced launch of coronavirus vaccine by Swiss drugmaker Roche

"Rand Paul: FDA approves Roche coronavirus test that is 10 times faster than current test."

altnews (LINK)

Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak: Resources to Help Nonprofits

philanthropy (LINK)

Coronavirus: People with Type A blood face heightened risk of infection

According to the study, of 206 patients who had been killed by the virus in Wuhan, 85 had type A blood, which is 63 per cent more than those with type O blood.

nzherald (LINK)


Secretary-General appoints Philippe Lazzarini of Switzerland as Commissioner-General of UNRWA

Since 2015, he has held the position of Deputy Special Coordinator, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon in the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Prior to this position, he was Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia (2013-2015). Prior to joining the United Nations, he worked as Head of Marketing for the Union Bancaire Privée, Geneva and served for ten years with the ICRC as the Deputy Head of Communication, Head of the ICRC Delegation in Rwanda, Angola and Sarajevo and as an ICRC delegate in Southern Sudan, Jordan, Gaza and Beirut. (LINK)


China expels US journalists in biggest crackdown in years

The drastic move came as the two powers are feuding over the deadly coronavirus pandemic, with President Donald Trump provocatively branding it the "Chinese virus" and a senior official in Beijing promoting unfounded conspiracy theories of US involvement. Beijing said it was retaliating for Washington's decision to cut the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work for its state-run media on American soil.

channelnewsasia (LINK)


Swiss hospitals face collapse in 10 days if virus keeps spreading

Daniel Koch, head of the Federal Office of Health's communicable diseases division, said the rapid rise had outstripped the state's ability to record new cases in real time.

reuters (LINK)

A new app would say if you've crossed paths with someone who is infected in the U.S.

Private Kit: Safe Paths shares information about your movements in a privacy-preserving way—and could let health officials tackle coronavirus hot spots. Called Private Kit: Safe Paths, the free and open-source app was developed by people at MIT and Harvard, as well as software engineers at companies such as Facebook and Uber, who worked on it in their free time.

technologyreview (LINK)

Chinese Journalist Shares Report on COVID-19 on Ethereum, Bypassing Censor

cointelegraph (LINK)


Coronavirus: Essential Reads from GetPocket

getpocket (LINK)

Here are the 24 countries that are least ready for a pandemic

The report categorized countries with scores below or equal to 33.3 as least prepared, and 72 countries fell into this category. Based on the overall Global Health Security scores, Algeria, which has an overall score of 23.6, and Iraq, which has an overall score of 25.8, are two of the "least prepared" countries for a pandemic.

businessinsider (LINK)

Possible Biological Explanations for Kids' Escape from COVID-19

Their young immune systems, ACE2 receptor levels, and even exposure to other coronaviruses might play a role in their resilience.

the-scientist (LINK)

Diplomacy goes virtual as coronavirus goes viral: How to organise and run online meetings (LINK)

Fullfact on the coronavirus

"Online posts have claimed that 'this new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 26/27 degrees. It hates the Sun.' There's no evidence for this. There's evidence that similar viruses transmit less well in the heat, but many countries with reported COVID-19 cases are experiencing temperatures higher than this." (LINK)


Free online course (1-2 hours) on coronavirus

Coronavirus - What you need to know also offers certificate. Nearly 150,000 students subscribed. Rated 4.1 stars out of five.

More free services (films, museum tours, studies) in our Youth Writes section.

alison (LINK)


Four Ways Experts Say Coronavirus Nightmare Could End

The pandemic could spread consistently through the summer — unmitigated by a vaccine or therapeutic treatment — until everyone who can get the virus does get it, until there's no one left to infect, in what is called "the worst case scenario."

"I cannot get my head around 40 to 70 percent of the population being infected within the next few months, with a two percent fatality rate," said on researcher, painting a picture of a world where millions of Americans die and hundreds of millions of Americans might become infected.

yahoo/daily beast (LINK)

McKinsey & Company Presents Three Key Scenarios for Global Market amidst Coronavirus Crisis

coinspeaker (LINK)

4 global news stories that have been overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis

weforum (LINK)

Study Shows How Long COVID-19 Virus Lives on Different Materials: Plastic, Steel, Copper, Cardboard, Air

core77 (LINK)

Canada closing borders to noncitizens because of coronavirus, U.S. citizens exempt from ban 'for the moment'


Best Leaves to Use as a Toilet Paper Substitute

You've got to need some light relief to read this.

core77 (LINK)


Microsoft Teams Goes Down as Europe Tries to Work From Home

pcmag (LINK)


Sending Cash to Friends and Family Through Bitcoin ATMs Is Safer Than Crowding Bank Offices During Pandemic

bitcoin (LINK)


Human Rights

Geneva Human Rights Film Festival announces 2020 winners

The Festival juries watched the films remotely.

Grand Prize: Colectiv by Alexander Nanau. Gilda Vieira de Mello Prize in tribute to her son Sergio Vieira de Mello: Radio Silence by Juliana Fanjul. Special Mention to "Gaza" by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell.

Youth Jury Prize: Overseas by Sung-A Yoon. Special Mention To "I Am Not Alone" by Garin Hovannisian.

Grand Prize Fiction and Human Rights: Maternal by Maura Delpero. Special Mention to "Kuessipan" by Myriam Verreault. Youth Jury Prize: Balloon by Pema Tseden. Special Mention to "Kuesspian" by Myriam Verreault.

Grand Reportage Competition. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT): Déit de solidarité / Assistance à personne en danger : un crime, by Pietro Boschetti and Frank Preiswerk. Champ-Dollon Jury Prize: The Cleaners by Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck. Special Mention to "Ceux qui travaillent" by Antoine Russbach. La Brénaz Jury Prize: The Cleaners by Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck. La Clairière Jury Prize: Numéro 387 disparu en Méditerranée by Madeleine Leroyer. Special Mention to "Sous la peau" by Robin Harsch. Also winner of HUG - Artopie Jury Prize.

fifdh (LINK)


Coronavirus: CERN information, measures and recommendations

"CERN was informed on 7 March that an employee tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19. The infected person has been in self-quarantine at home, with light symptoms. In the past three days, a few more suspected cases were notified. For all cases, CERN immediately implemented procedures to quickly identify and follow close contacts, to ensure their well-being."

cern (LINK)

ProtonMail promises new anti-censorship features

As part of a major overhaul, the free Swiss-based email and VPN service says it will introduce alternative routing to prevent censorship of Proton apps. Users do not need to do anything. ProtonMail and ProtonVPN automatically acts if it thinks you might be censored.

ProtonMail also announced the addition of local servers in several countries, as well as more free ones in the U.S., and the addition of six new languages, including French, Spanish, Polish and Portuguese.

ProtonMail adds: "We're also supporting the global fight against COVID-19. In addition to donating email and VPN services, we are the world's 4th largest corporate donor to the Rosetta@home project (as of this writing), providing computing resources to researchers working to predict the atomic-scale structure of important coronavirus proteins. Learn more about our COVID-19 efforts."

protonmail (LINK)

UN Geneva restrictions from 16 March 'until further notice'

From Monday, 16 March, and until further notice, all UN Secretariat-based staff will be required to telecommute and work remotely, unless their physical presence in the building is needed to carry out essential work. The Palais des Nations and its annexes will remain open for business, but the work will be done differently. As already communicated, as of 16 March and until further notice, entrance to the Palais des Nations will be strictly reserved for persons who need to be in the premises to undertake essential official business that cannot be conducted remotely.

The biweekly press briefings on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 will be maintained; they will continue to be held in Room XVII, so as to allow participants to sit at sufficient distance from each other.

"In Geneva, in addition to those cases already confirmed in international organizations, we have now been informed that a colleague who had worked at the Palais des Nations [in UNCTAD] tested positive for COVID-19. The UN Geneva Medical Service is in touch with the individual and the matter is being closely monitored by medical professionals. The Medical Service has also given reassurance that since the affected individual had not been in the premises since last Friday and was not symptomatic when present in the office, there should be no major concern."

UN HQ restrictions in force until 12 April

All staff will be required to telecommute unless their physical presence in the workplace is needed to carry out essential services. This will be effective Monday, 16 March, until Sunday, 12 April. After three weeks, we will assess the necessity of maintaining a reduced level of staff in the building. (LINK)

Diplomat from Philippines first known coronavirus case at U.N. in New York

A female diplomat from the Philippines mission to the United Nations tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, according to a note sent to U.N. missions, making the woman the first known case at the world body's New York headquarters.

reuters (LINK)

Social distancing is the new norm as the world tries to contain COVID-19

Includes many other links

ctvnews (LINK)


UNECE launches Dashboard to track regional progress on SDGs

unece (LINK)


Is the World Health Organization Merely a Bunch of Incompetent Goobers or Is It Wholly Owned by China?

Read what the U.S. right wing believes.

redstate (LINK)


At 'Shock Doctrine Press Conference,' Trump Bails Out Oil Industry, Not US Families, as Coronavirus Crisis Intensifies

"Climate action groups and progressive critics expressed disappointment and outrage on Friday afternoon after President Donald Trump — despite a continued failure to offer far-reaching support to the U.S. public — moved to bolster the bottom lines of oil and gas companies by announcing a massive federal purchase for the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)."

commondreams (LINK)


ProtonMail promises new anti-censorship features

As part of a major overhaul, the free Swiss-based email and VPN service says it will introduce alternative routing to prevent censorship of Proton apps. Users do not need to do anything. ProtonMail and ProtonVPN automatically acts if it thinks you might be censored.

ProtonMail also announced the addition of local servers in several countries, as well as more free ones in the U.S., and the addition of six new languages, including French, Spanish, Polish and Portuguese.

ProtonMail adds: "We're also supporting the global fight against COVID-19. In addition to donating email and VPN services, we are the world's 4th largest corporate donor to the Rosetta@home project (as of this writing), providing computing resources to researchers working to predict the atomic-scale structure of important coronavirus proteins. Learn more about our COVID-19 efforts."

protonmail (LINK)


Some Countries Escalate COVID-19 Response While Others Meander; Experts Call For More Clear Guidance From WHO On Containment Measures

Some countries, including Switzerland, home to WHO's Geneva Headquarters, appear "resigned to the uncontrolled spread of the disease in the wake of yesterday's declaration [by WHO] of a COVID-19 pandemic".

healthpolicy-watch (LINK)

Bank of England Cuts Rates by Half Due to Coronavirus, Health Minister Tests Positive

coinspeaker (LINK)

Modelers Struggle to Predict the Future of the COVID-19 Pandemic

variables include key numbers such as the disease incubation period, how quickly the virus spreads through the population, and, perhaps most contentiously, the case-fatality ratio. "Non-specialists do this all the time and they always get it wrong," says a professional modeller. "If you just divide the total numbers of deaths by the total numbers of cases, you're going to get the wrong answer."

"Earlier this month, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, dismayed disease modelers when he said COVID-19 (the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus) had killed 3.4 per cent of reported cases, and that this was more severe than seasonal flu, which has a death rate of around 0.1 per cent. Such a simple calculation does not account for the two to three weeks it usually takes someone who catches the virus to die, for example. And it assumes that reported cases are an accurate reflection of how many people are infected, when the true number will be much higher and the true mortality rate much lower.

"Deaths are the most useful data points for these analyses. For example, if modelers assume a case-fatality ratio of 1 percent, and that it usually takes 15 days for an infected person to die, then they know a death reported today in a specific region means that 100 people were likely infected there 15 days ago. Add in the time it takes cases to double — it seems to take five days — then modelers can estimate that over those 15 days the number of cases swelled to 800. So, for every death in a region, that means about 800 others are already infected, most of whom will not have been identified. This pattern was verified in Italy, which as of today has reported 12,462 cases and 827 deaths. When officials tested people living near where someone had died from the disease, in many cases they found hundreds of others were already carrying the virus.""

the-scientist (LINK)

A Novel Opportunity to Strengthen Public Trust in the Nonprofit World (Opinion)

"While COVID-19 is testing the mettle of our nation, it also presents a novel opportunity for charities and foundations to remind the American public about our proven ability to rise to adaptive challenges such as this. It is an opportunity for civil-society organizations to refill the public's wellspring of faith in our vital work. It is also an opportunity for the tens of thousands of organizations that have proven their value during times of less dramatic crisis to remind communities that we stand strong and always for the common good, particularly when we are challenged as a nation." (LINK)


Attenborough urges halt to deep sea mining plans

Sir David Attenborough has urged countries to halt plans to mine the deep sea following the publication of a new report from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) that warns the practice could cause significant loss of biodiversity, disruption of the ocean's life-support systems and its carbon storage function.

the ecologist (LINK)


UN report: Sex abuse allegations rose significantly in 2019

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report to the U.N. General Assembly that while the number of alleged victims and perpetrators decreased last year, the number of allegations increased to 80 from the 56 reported in 2018.

More than half of the 2019 allegations – 41 – were related to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic, while 15 involved the mission in Congo, the report said. The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur, the U.N. force in Lebanon, and the former peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Haiti accounted for three-fourths of the remaining 24 cases, it said.

apnews (LINK)


Why the Agreement Between the Taliban and the United States is Definitely Not a 'Peace Deal' for Afghanistan

"The Afghan government, which the United States is ostensibly in Afghanistan to support, was deliberately excluded from these negotiations. The hope is that an 'inter-Afghan' dialogue can soon begin between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban."

undispatch (LINK)


Judge orders Chelsea Manning's release from jail in Virginia

Ordering Manning's release, Judge Anthony J Trenga wrote: "The court finds Ms Manning's appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

Ex-army analyst, held for refusing to testify to grand jury over WikiLeaks, attempted suicide this week, legal team said.

theguardian (LINK)


World Economic Forum Convenes Global Business for COVID Action Platform

The global platform, created with the support of the World Health Organization, aims to convene the business community for collective action, protect people's livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response.

weforum (LINK)

How has Taiwan kept its coronavirus infection rate so low?

Taiwan's number of COVID-19 infections is currently below 50, despite the island's proximity to the outbreak's epicenter on mainland China. Experts say early intervention has helped stop a public health crisis.

dw (LINK)

TorusLabs Founder Contracts Coronavirus, Warns Ethereum Conference Attendees

newslogical (LINK)


Coronavirus on the high seas: the U.S. can't touch cruise lines

The crisis shows the power of industry and holes in regulation. "The cruise industry is insulated by ship registrations in foreign countries and shielded by a powerful lobby with sway in tourism-dependent U.S. states like Florida."

Some popular flags of convenience, like the Bahamas, have just one person in charge of inspecting ships that dock there.

New research in the Journal of Travel Medicine has shown that quarantining passengers on board the ship may have caused the number of infections to balloon and that had passengers been allowed to evacuate, nearly 90 percent of the coronavirus cases could have been avoided.

politico (LINK)


Beware of 'Coronavirus Maps' – It's a malware infecting PCs to steal passwords

The malware attack specifically aims to target those who are looking for cartographic presentations of the spread of COVID-19 on the Internet, and trickes them to download and run a malicious application that, on its front-end, shows a map loaded from a legit online source but in the background compromises the computer.

Double-clicking the file opens a window that shows various information about the spread of COVID-19. The centerpiece is a "map of infections" similar to the one hosted by Johns Hopkins University, a legitimate online source to visualize and track reported coronavirus cases in the real-time.

The malware AZORult is reportedly discussed in Russian underground forums as a tool for gathering sensitive data from computers. It comes with a variant that is capable of generating a hidden administrator account in infected computers to enable connections via the remote desktop protocol (RDP).

This is the good one from Johns Hopkins

Here's What You Should Do About Coronavirus and Travel Plans

Maybe it's the time to... book cheap tickets? (It's not!)

vice (LINK)


Reuters Connect offers instant coronavirus coverage

"In our innovative platform Reuters Connect, we have the broadest most comprehensive content from Reuters plus more than 70 highly trusted content partners." Requires sign-up.




How to hide your messy room for a Zoom video conference

theverge (LINK)

Your computer can help fight coronavirus right now

Folding@home, which describes itself as a "distributed computing project for disease research," announced last week that anyone who wants to can now download its software to donate their extra computing power to a research team at Memorial Sloan Kettering that is working on improving our understanding of the coronavirus.

inverse (LINK)



France: Fraudsters sentenced over bizarre impersonation scam

Infamous criminal Gilbert Chikli was named the ringleader of a scheme to steal money from powerful individuals by posing as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

dw (LINK)


Geneva Government signs new deal with MSF Switzerland

It promises CHF1 million a year for the coming four years. (LINK: French only)


Seattle's Patient Zero Spread Coronavirus Despite Ebola-Style Lockdown

First known U.S. case offers lessons in how and how not to fight the outbreak.

bloomberg (LINK)

Scientists Use Online Game to Research COVID-19 Treatment

Researchers are calling on citizen scientists to play a free online game called Foldit, in which they help design and identify proteins that may be able to bind to and neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that it uses to invade host cells. The scientists hope that players' creations will yield insights that will allow them to create an effective antiviral therapy for COVID-19.

the-scientist (LINK)



Center for Inquiry sues Walmart over its marketing of homeopathic medicines

"Walmart is attempting to quash a consumer-protection lawsuit over its sale of homeopathic fake medicine with a deceptive motion to dismiss that tries to prejudice the court against the nonreligious organization bringing the case."

centerforinquiry (LINK)


Coronavirus mutations: Much ado about nothing

"While virus evolution may confer vaccine resistance, this process often takes many years for the right mutations to accumulate. Many vaccines to RNA viruses, such as yellow fever, measles, and mumps, were developed throughout the 1930s-70s and are all still highly effective. And those viruses mutate at rates as fast or faster than coronaviruses. In fact, the two proposed "S" and "L" coronavirus strains only differ by two mutations and are 99.993% identical. It's extremely likely that any vaccine designed for one coronavirus will be protective against the other. The reason we need an annual influenza vaccine has more to do with how that virus reshuffles its genome than how it mutates."

cnn (LINK)

Coronavirus has mutated into two strains — one more aggressive, say scientists

The virulent version of the coronavirus — which they tagged the "L-type" version — was the dominant strain in the earliest phase of the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, late last year. That strain, they said, appeared to recede as the epidemic progressed. But among samples collected later, as COVID-19 spread across China and into other countries, a variant of the virus they dubbed the "S-type" was more common, the scientists reported. They suggested that the genetic makeup of the S version more closely resembles coronaviruses circulating in bats and pangolins, the animals thought to have incubated the virus before it jumped to humans. And they surmised that it is a less virulent version. The findings suggest the S-type version may have escaped its animal hosts earlier than previously believed — and that it may have been circulating longer without causing enough illness to set off alarm bells. A man who had undergone a genetic analysis after he tested positive on January 21 proved that it's possible to be infected by both strains.

latimes (LINK)

Experts confirm human to animal spread of coronavirus in HongKong

Expert urges caution after dog found with ‘low levels' of the virus

telegraph (LINK)

The conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus, debunked

On Fox News and social media, a dangerous conspiracy theory about the origin of the health crisis won't die: the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, originated in a level 4 (the highest biosafety level) research laboratory in Wuhan.

vox (LINK)

Washing your hands sounds trivial — here's the science behind why it works

It's better than sanitizers or facemasks.

wellandgood (LINK)


Outdoor air pollution cuts three years from human lifespan — study

Global survey finds average figure is higher than that caused by smoking tobacco

theguardian (LINK)

Internet / Media

Facebook's top news stories are like a window into an alternate dimension

It's Super Tuesday and the coronavirus is spreading, but Facebook is talking about Hillary Clinton's emails.

According to data compiled by CrowdTangle, the most total interactions on Facebook came on a Fox News article about a federal judge granting a request from a right-wing group named Judicial Watch to make Clinton sit for a sworn deposition about her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

What you won't find in Facebook's top 20 news stories, however, is Super Tuesday coverage, anything published by a left-of-center outlet, or anything that's critical of President Donald Trump or his administration.

vox (LINK)


Interior Department Distorted Climate Change Evidence: Report

Agency documents, including scientific analyses, included language that mispresents the uncertainty surrounding climate change, according to a New York Times investigation. (LINK)


The Coronavirus Poses a Big Threat to Refugees and People in Humanitarian Crisis

undispatch (LINK audio)

U.N. gender equality meeting cut over coronavirus fears (LINK)

Switzerland / Economy

BMW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley to Livestream Their New Models as Geneva Show Is Called Off

coinspeaker (LINK)


United Nations issues warning about email scams related to the coronavirus

Attackers are posing as WHO to steal money and obtain sensitive information.

mobilesyrup (LINK)


Supply Chain Shift Out of China Gaining Steam

One shift is to Vietnam. Microsoft, Google and Apple are all implementing plans.

theepochtimes (LINK)


Epidemics expert Jonathan Quick: 'The worst-case scenario for coronavirus is likely'

"Fewer than one in three countries are close to being prepared to confront an epidemic, which leaves the vast majority of the world's population vulnerable. That in turn leaves us all vulnerable because we're only as safe as the least safe place."

theguardian (LINK)

U.N. / Health

Welcome to the Global Health Security Index

Quick: "As of five months ago, we have a measure of epidemic preparedness – the Global Health Security (GHS) Index — that scores countries on six dimensions: prevention, detection, response, health system, risk environment and compliance with international standards. No country scores perfectly on all six. China has detected and responded to this epidemic pretty well, though its health system is now stretched beyond capacity, but it is weak on prevention — particularly when it comes to food safety."

The index puts the U.S. top, followed by the U.K., with Switzerland in 12th position.

ghsindex (LINK)

U.N. / Rights

Colombo Telegraph On Sri Lanka's Withdrawal From Resolution 30/1 & Subsequent Resolutions Extending Its Mandate In The UNHRC

colombotelegraph (LINK)


WMO expects above average temperatures, even without El Niño

Above average temperatures are expected in many parts of the globe in the next few months, even without the presence of a warming El Niño event. (LINK

Culture / Environment

Saving our cultural heritage from climate change

A new project at the Google Arts and Culture platform, Heritage on the Edge, is an attempt to highlight the changes to which key historical heritage sites can be exposed due to a rise in sea levels, droughts, heatwaves, and other climate-related threats. The project invites us to explore the interplay of climate change and cultural heritage by showing the fragility of our culture even to small changes in the global ecosystem.

sustainability-times (LINK)

Climate change: Warm winter ruins German ice wine harvest

bbc (LINK)

List of postings